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The term "conservation" in "conservation organizations" is a broad one. The organizations listed run the gamut from local offices of federal agencies to private land trusts to for-profit businesses. They all have in common programs that are designed, in part or in whole, to help private landowners maintain their property. Activities are as diverse as helping to protect land, manage land, diversify operations, transition operations, restore ecosystems, and improve profitability.

Conservation professionals encompass an even broader range of expertise. These are people who may be employed by conservation organizations, or they may be business people or self-employed. They may have legal, wildlife, wetland, or land management expertise.

Organizations and professionals operating in Texas who wish to be listed here can click Add me to the Directory to request to be listed.

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David Nowak of the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station presents this video short course discussing how trees in cities provide important ecosystem services and help to reduce the urban heat island effect and lower building energy use.
 
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Luke Nave from the University of Michigan Biological Station presents this video short course on the fact that the largest terrestrial carbon pool is contained in soils. Carbon stored in soils plays a number of important roles, including keeping carbon out of the atmosphere and improving moisture and nutrient retention.

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Rebecca McCulley of the University of Kentucky, Dept. of Plant & Soil Sciences presents this video short course on Grasslands, which make up 30% of the U.S. land surface, store significant amounts of carbon belowground in roots and soils. Learn how disturbances such as drought, grazing, fire and tillage can significantly impact the grassland carbon balance.
 

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In this video short course you can get the scoop on forestland carbon storage in the United States, which helps offset approximately 12% of US carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

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Andrea Tuttle presents this video short course ont forest carbon markets and how these can be used to capture and hold carbon on the landscape.

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Wondering about carbon offsets, credits, baselines, permanence and leakage? Get the carbon basics here and find out why forest offsets could be a bridge to the future.

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New innovations in payments for watershed services (PWS) have emerged in the past decade and are pointing the way toward watershed protection approaches that might effectively complement existing government conservation programs and incentives for rural landowners. The purpose of this study was to survey these new or emerging PWS project models to understand their scale, characteristics, and future potential. To do so, we surveyed conservation professionals, experts, and others across the country to identify and characterize a range of PWS projects and programs in which municipalities, other local government entities, non-profit organizations, private companies, and individuals are buyers of ecosystem services.

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This report provides an overview of existing payment programs and markets, and discusses the concepts of bundling and stacking, offer policy recommendations, and provides examples of current efforts to more effectively integrate payment opportunities for landowners.

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The 80 million-plus Millennials in the United States represent the next generation of potential land trust supporters and advocates.

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The Gulf Partnership is committed to Strategic Conservation, the identification of the most important areas in a region for conservation, restoration and long-term management. This approach is in contrast to a scatter-shot approach - what some have called ‘random acts of conservation.’ We want every dollar spent on conservation to be used to create the most benefit. In October, 2014, the Gulf Partnership, in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund, released ‘A Land Conservation Vision for the Gulf of Mexico Region’ which is a series of maps that identify high-value geographic areas for land conservation. These maps were created by the partner organizations and include:

  • Focus areas identified by the partners that reflect local community values
  • Wetlands
  • Migratory bird habitat
  • Scenic rivers
  • Longleaf pine habitat
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Groundwater conservation districts (GCDs) are being created in many parts of Texas to allow local citizens to manage and protect their groundwater. This publication answers frequently asked questions about groundwater and GCDs. 

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This publication is intended to provide basic information on conservation easements for landowners, community leaders, students and other interested individuals. It is not intended, and should not be used, to provide information to guide a particular conservation easement transaction or to substitute for the legal, financial and/or property appraisal planning or assistance that is needed for such transactions

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BMPs for agricultural water users are combinations of site-specific management, educational, and physical practices that have proven to be effective and are economical for conserving water. BMPs have been developed which focus on increasing the water use efficiency of water users such as producers of agricultural crops and of water suppliers such as irrigation districts. BMPs have been developed which focus on conserving rainwater, such as land owners  managing and controlling brush species. BMPs provide a means of measuring the success of agricultural water conservation programs, their costs, and schedules of implementation. Good agricultural water conservation practices can provide benefits to wildlife resources.

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What’s a quail worth? The short answer — as it relates to a wild Texas quail — is $253 each, according to a recently completed survey of Texas quail hunters.

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Conservation buffers such as filter strips, riparian buffers, grassed waterways, and field borders are especially applicable to southeastern landscapes and have multiple environmental benefits while serving to significantly improve wildlife habitats.

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Summary Findings

  • The Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds practice (CP33) is the first Federal conservation practice to target species-specific population recovery goals of a national wildlife conservation initiative (the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative).
  • Over 14 states, breeding bobwhite densities were 70 to 75 percent greater around CP33 buffered fields than around unbuffered crop fields.
  • Fall bobwhite covey densities were 50 to 110 percent greater around CP33 fields than around unbuffered crop fields, and this positive response to CP33 increased each subsequent year of the study.
  • Several upland songbirds (e.g., dickcissel, field sparrow) responded strongly to CP33 in the landscape.
  • Area-sensitive grassland birds (e.g.,grasshopper sparrow) exhibited little response to CP33 buffers.
  • These findings illustrate the wildlife value of field borders and other buffer practices implemented through EQIP, WHIP, and other conservation programs.
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The conservation provisions of the Farm Bill can produce more consistent positive wildlife habitat benefits when policy (program statutes, rules, practices, and practice standards) is developed in the context of explicit goals identified as part of large-scale conservation initiatives.

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The conservation objective in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley is to provide forested habitat capable of supporting sustainable populations of all forest dependent wildlife species. This report provides recommendations to improve and enhance management activities directed at providing habitat for priority wildlife species.

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For a landscape supporting healthy native bird populations across the LMVJV

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The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) is the unified range-wide strategy of 25 state wildlife agencies, with numerous conservation group and research institution partners, to achieve widespread restoration of native grassland habitats and huntable populations of wild quail.

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This publication provides technical guidance and practical information for wildlife management beyond planting and managing food plots. 

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The 50 acre Deer Park Prairie outside of Houston, land that has been untouched for thousands of years, is now set to be bulldozed to make room for subdivisions. That is, unless $4 million can be raised by midnight on August 20, 2013. Read More »


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This Farm and Dairy article explains how conservation is a journey for our country.

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Private land conservation initiatives are a critical component of any state-level quality of life agenda. Although concerns over sprawl, including the loss of prime agricultural lands and significant green space, continue to be one of the underlying rallying cries in support of state-level smart growth initiatives, the fact remains that with few exceptions, conservation of privately-owned working lands has not received significant attention in smart growth literature or conferences. Yet, land conservation and growth management are inextricably intertwined and policy initiatives must work in concert to be effective.

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This guide offers a path for local landowners to earn additional income while helping diminish adverse effects of global climate change through implementation of carbon sequestration and other stackable incentives. This document is a tool to help landowners make the decision whether or not to enroll their land in carbon sequestration. It discusses background information on carbon sequestration and global climate change; current methods of sequestration, including forestry, conservation planting, methane capture and others; and steps a land owner must take, including contracts, verification, and implementation, once they have made the decision to enroll their lands in a sequestration project.

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For those of you who don’t know, TDR stands for Transferable Development Rights. Simply put, these are typically programs that are designed by local government to allow for the free market transfer of subdivision or development rights from a rural (agricultural and/or conservation) zone to a designated development zone within a jurisdiction.  These rights are purchased by a land developer at market value from a landowner in a rural area where there are often more development rights than are allowed to be used by zoning in that area.  Referred to as a “Sending” zone, the rights are then legally separated from the farm or rural property in exchange for a land preservation easement.  The rights can be held for investment or transferred into a “Receiving” zone, which is a designated growth area for real estate development.  In these Receiving zones additional density is allowed to be added when the rights are acquired from the rural Sending zones.

Equally as important it can be a very effective tool for preserving farmland, conservation areas and even historic places. 
While not for every community, there are many that are ripe for such programs.  So, what are the common features and attributes of the most successful programs around the nation?

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“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Quoted from an essay by Thoreau lamenting the way in which modern urban life has made natural resources into commodities and isolated people from the natural processes on which their lives depended. Move forward to 2006, “open space” or “green space” has nearly replaced ‘wilderness’ in our vocabulary with the rise in the development of the rural landscape. The US population is now over 300 million and more and more people are sprawling out from the urban areas into the country. This push outward is having a measurable effect on our open spaces. Farmland near cities has seen its value inflated by demand for conversion to non-farm uses. People are often willing to pay more than agricultural value in order to live in primarily rural areas. For example, in Iowa there are now more non-farmers living in rural areas than there are farmers. Read More »


Considering conservation buffers on your land?  The USDA has 250,000 or more buffer contracts with about 160,000 farms and ranches. They may be a good choice for your land and for the environment. They are also economically viable for most operations.

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A Prescribed Fire Association is a group of landowners and other concerned citizens that form a partnership to conduct prescribed burns. Prescribed burning is the key land management tool used to restore and maintain native plant communities to their former diversity and productivity for livestock production and wildlife habitat. Native prairies, shrublands, and forests supply the majority of livestock forage and much of the wildlife habitat in the U.S. Without fire, many native plant communities become dysfunctional and unproductive. Research has clearly shown that there is no substitute for fire. 

Many forest and grassland ecosystems are fire dependent and not burning is poor land management.  Why do not more people use prescribed fire to manage their land? First, fire was not part of the European culture that settled in post-Columbian America. Fire exclusion and fire suppression has been engrained in our society for years and popularized by the very successful Smokey the Bear ad campaign. The result has been a rapid decline in the quality of our natural resources, along with costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year to fight wildfires and the many other negative consequences of fuel build up. This article has been adapted from Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Association. Read More »


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For decades, conservation easements have protected open space values such as wildlife habitat, ecological diversity, recreational access and aesthetics. Working forest landscapes present an opportunity to protect not only these open space values, but also the economic and community benefits that arise from a forest’s production of goods and services.

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Many rural communities are facing challenges, including rapid growth at metropolitan edges, declining rural populations, and loss of working lands. This report focuses on smart growth strategies that can help guide growth in rural areas while protecting natural and working lands and preserving the rural character of existing communities. These strategies are based around three central goals: 1) support the rural landscape by creating an economic climate that enhances the viability of working lands and conserves natural lands; 2) help existing places to thrive by taking care of assets and investments such as downtowns, Main Streets, existing infrastructure, and places that the community values; and 3) create great new places by building vibrant, enduring neighborhoods and communities that people, especially young people, don’t want to leave.

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The preservation of land for working rural landscapes, wildlife habitat, urban parks, recreational trails, and protecting water supplies and floodplains is emerging as an integral component of smart growth programs. Both the general public and non-profit organizations have been willing to spend billions of dollars on land preservation because of a perception that traditional land use planning and regulation are not successfully accommodating growth or protecting valuable natural resources. The literature on smart growth has largely overlooked the potential of land preservation to curb sprawl and to foster livable communities. On the other hand, the literature on land preservation has focused on the mechanics of conservation easements and land purchases rather than on how land preservation can fit in the comprehensive planning process to achieve community smart growth goals. More research needs to be done on the strategic use of land preservation in shaping and directing growth as part of a comprehensive planning effort. 
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Clearly, the motivation for a land conservation transaction is often the desire of the landowner to safeguard the property. However, this objective must be balanced with the need to maximize the return to the landowner. The general perception is that the highest return will be realized from a sale to a developer. 
 
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Almost everyone in forestry has heard of land trusts since they have become a common fixture especially in areas that are rapidly urbanizing. But the unfortunate perception of many forest and farm owners is that land trusts are not to be trusted because their real purpose is to steal private property and pull lands out of production. Nothing could be further from the truth, but critics rely on false ‘private property’ threats to turn land owners away from land trusts even before owners understand how they work. A forest owner who knows how land trusts operate is more inclined to protect lands from development than owners who know little about this highly innovated to protect forest lands from development.

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This report describes the key findings of an analysis of the status and recent changes in ownership size, land  use and property values of private farms, ranches and forestlands in Texas. The goal of this work is to provide  public and private decision makers with the data they need to plan for the conservation of working rural lands  in Texas. Included in this report are four summaries describing results of technical analyses upon which many  of our conclusions are based. Our primary data sources were the Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts  (who provided a 1992-2001 annual compilation of land use and land value data from 1,032 independent school  districts), and the U.S.D.A. Agricultural Statistics Service. We also obtained data from the U. S. Census Bureau,  U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Inventory, and the U. S. Department of Commerce/Bureau of Economic Analysis–Regional Economic Information System. We used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) base maps obtained from the Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS). This work was made possible by grants to American Farmland Trust from the Meadows Foundation and Houston Endowment, Inc.

Our specific objectives were to:

  • Assess the current status and recent trends in rural land ownership size, land use and property values in Texas;
  • Determine relationships among land size, land use and property values;
  • Develop a map-based simulation model for projecting future trends in rural lands, and use this model to explore  the implications of initiating a Purchase of Development Rights program;
  • Encourage the development of policies for conserving productive rural lands and wildlife habitats in Texas; and
  • Provide public access to these data using a Web site with interactive mapping and custom data queries.
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It may come as a shock, but there is a sort of symbiotic relationship at work between property owners with conservation easements and the IRS. Hard to believe, I know. We understand that the IRS gives tax breaks for those who protect their property from certain development and use. In special circumstances, these landowners can find tax breaks that many others will not reach, similar to the nectar only available to the unique and capable hummingbirds.

The Landowner, Conservation Easements & the 2010 Roth Conversion. At the beginning of 2010, the $100,000 MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income) limit on Roth IRA conversions was lifted. Individuals that were not able to convert an IRA to a Roth in previous years may now be eligible, and the subject is getting quite a bit of news.

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Populations of Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus; LEPC) have declined by more than 90%. The main factors precipitating this decline have been the conversion of sand-sage and mixed-grass prairie to agriculture, juniper encroachment,  excessive cattle grazing, and fossil-fuel and suburban development. Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) fields contribute greatly to the remaining habitat of the LEPC; however, approximately three million acres of CRP within the current LEPC distribution will soon expire, and potentially be re-converted to cropland.

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The mission of Western Grassland Initiative is to serve as the primary contributor to the implementation of conservation and management actions, through partnerships and cooperative efforts, resulting in improved species status, grassland habitats, and recreational opportunities for grassland dependent species across North America.

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The overall distribution of the lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) has declined an estimated 92 percent since settlement by people of European descent and an estimated 78 percent since the early 1960s. Concurrent with this decrease in occupied range, numbers of lesser prairie-chickens have declined at least 90 percent since European settlement, resulting in smaller, more isolated populations. As a consequence of these declines, the lesser prairie-chicken is a candidate for federal listing as a threatened or endangered species.

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Take a quick quiz and test your knowledge on conservation easements and learn if they can work for you.
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Certain individuals who own land with significant conservation value, for example landowners of wildlife habitat or open space, can preserve the character of their land, obtain additional property, and defer taxes on the transaction, all at the same time.

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Land trusts across the country are preserving agricultural lands to support local food systems. 

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A simple example illustrates how a conservation easement works in practice. Let’s assume pressure from buyers building vacation homes has pushed the value of land up in recent years to the point where the family is concerned about how the next generation will pay the estate tax bill without selling the land.

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This publication is intended to provide basic information on conservation easements for landowners, community leaders, students and other interested individuals. It is not intended, and should not be used, to provide information to guide a particular conservation easement transaction or to substitute for the legal, financial and/or property appraisal planning or assistance that is needed for such transactions

Read More »


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Almost everyone in forestry has heard of land trusts since they have become a common fixture especially in areas that are rapidly urbanizing. But the unfortunate perception of many forest and farm owners is that land trusts are not to be trusted because their real purpose is to steal private property and pull lands out of production. Nothing could be further from the truth, but critics rely on false ‘private property’ threats to turn land owners away from land trusts even before owners understand how they work. A forest owner who knows how land trusts operate is more inclined to protect lands from development than owners who know little about this highly innovated to protect forest lands from development.

Read More »


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Take a quick quiz and test your knowledge on conservation easements and learn if they can work for you.
Read More »


A simple example illustrates how a conservation easement works in practice. Let’s assume pressure from buyers building vacation homes has pushed the value of land up in recent years to the point where the family is concerned about how the next generation will pay the estate tax bill without selling the land.

Read More »


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Certain individuals who own land with significant conservation value, for example landowners of wildlife habitat or open space, can preserve the character of their land, obtain additional property, and defer taxes on the transaction, all at the same time.

Read More »

Land Conservation news from the Houston Conservation Center
The following news articles are provided by the Google News service and do not reflect the views or imply an endorsement by the Houston Conservation Center and its affiliates. We cannot guarantee the relevance of the content of this page or any links that may be followed from the articles herein.
Google News
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North Texas e-News

Laborcitas Creek Ranch receives 2018 Leopold Conservation Award® for Texas
North Texas e-News
This award is given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, and conferred each year by Sand County Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to private land conservation, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In ...




AgriLife Today

EPA accepts Tres Palacios Creek watershed protection plan
AgriLife Today
COLLEGE STATION — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accepted the Tres Palacios Creek Watershed Protection Plan developed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, or TWRI, that will address excessive bacteria and depressed dissolved ...




MyStatesman.com

Commentary: Farm bill creates conservation opportunities for Texas
MyStatesman.com
The bill is the primary federal funding source for private land conservation, which would impact most land in Texas. Working within the current limited budget, Congress should increase the opportunity that landowners have to participate in quality ...




Dallas News

There's a tax-free weekend for gardeners now, and we're stocking up for summer
Dallas News
Most of us are familiar with the tax-free weekend associated with the start of school in August. In fact, these state-funded end-of-summer discounts are nearly 20 years old. But did you know that Memorial Day weekend (May 26-28) now hosts a tax-free ...

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Houston Chronicle

Farm Bill will impact Texas' post-Harvey conservation efforts [Opinion]
Houston Chronicle
Conserving Texas' natural lands cannot work without participation from farmers, ranchers and private landowners. And these workers often need support — including the knowledge on how to best manage their lands from a conservation perspective. To help ...
Trump Expected to Threaten Veto of Farm Bill Without Tighter Work RequirementsWall Street Journal

all 83 news articles »



ABC News

Primate bound for sanctuary breaks out of cage at Texas airport
ABC News
"We had folks from our sanctuary there to meet him," Prashant Khetan, CEO of Born Free USA, a 50-year-old conservation nonprofit, told ABC News. "They always had eyes on Dawkins the entire time." The airport's employed wildlife ... Khetan confirmed ...

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Colorado County Citizen

Cabin from Frelsburg centerpiece of new San Felipe museum
Colorado County Citizen
The cabin was donated to the Texas Historical Commission by the late Dallas Hill of Frelsburg, in 2016, and removed from the property for conservation and instillation in the historic site museum in 2017, said Bryan McAuley, Site Manager for the Dan ...




Land trust seeks Solano board support for $1.8M land conservation grant
Fairfield Daily Republic
FAIRFIELD — Solano County supervisors on Tuesday will consider support for the Solano Land Trust application to the state Department of Conservation for a Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation program grant of $1.8 million for an ag easement on ...




San Angelo Standard Times

Johnsons named TGSWC Conservation Ranchers of the Year
San Angelo Standard Times
The husband and wife team of Gary Brian and Katie Mertz Johnson are the Tom Green Soil and Water Conservation Ranchers of the Year. The Johnsons ... He purchased it in 1967, when he moved his ranching operation from Pietown, New Mexico to Texas.




dallasinnovates.com

Laura Bush's Nonprofit Looking to Recognize 'Transformative Conservation Projects'
dallasinnovates.com
The new program broadens the eligible projects to encompass all species, land, and water, Joni Carswell, executive director of Texan by Nature, told Dallas Innovates. Projects must be measurable, target natural resource conservation, integrate ...


Google News
Professionals and Organizations Land Conservation Articles
Introductory & Technical Articles on land conservation
Professionals and OrganizationsFor those of you new to land conservation, we have articles to introduce you to the basic concepts. These articles will help you understand the issues and strategies associated with charitable donations of land and conservation easements.
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